Job finding supremo Hayley Taylor, better known as TV’s Fairy Jobmother, is back on our screens - and this time the straight-talking Doncaster mum is tackling America’s unemployed. Features editor Darren Burke caught up with her for a chat about the new series . . .
SHE’S been to Hollywood, appeared on breakfast TV with Janet Jackson, eaten meatballs alongside actress Susan Sarandon and her teenage daughter has had her photo taken with Sophia Loren - but there’s nothing Hayley Taylor likes more than slouching around Doncaster in her jeans and doing the shopping.
It has been a remarkable rags-to-riches rise to fame for Hayley after the success of her hit Channel 4 show The Fairy Jobmother catapulted her to unlikely stardom.
The down-to-earth Yorkshire lass, proud of her mining background and her gloriously no-nonsense Tyke accent, has gone from a being a charity shop worker and hairdresser to having her face plastered across huge billboards in the United States as well as on scores of New York’s famous yellow taxi cabs to promote her hit programme which helps people back into work.
For this week, the third series of the show began on the station’s spin-off channel More4 - and this time round she’s tackling the problems of the unemployed on the other side of the Atlantic.
“It was such a huge culture shock,” she said. “Things were very different in America and I had to approach things very differently while I was out there.” Hayley, 45, spent five months filming the new series, which goes out every Tuesday at 10pm - and admits it was a massive wrench to be apart from her family for so long.
“I was staying in some fabulous places,” she said.
“L.A., Massachusetts, Louisiana, Pennsylvania - and even though my family came out to see me a few times, half the time I was crying my eyes out, wishing I was back home!”
Incredibly, the series was actually filmed in the summer of 2010 and has already aired Stateside - but this is its first time on UK screens - and Hayley is nervously bracing herself for a new wave of interest - and being recognised in the supermarket!
“I don’t mind people coming up, she adds, “but I do feel uncomfortable when people stare and whisper. The thing is, I’m just me - a Yorkshire girl and what you see is what you get. I don’t class myself as famous or expect people to treat me any differently or anything like that.
“Being on TV is not a long-held dream or anything,” adds Hayley, who lives in a comfortable detached house with husband Mark and daughter Morgan, 15, in Warmsworth, “It just happened.”
But to get where she is today, finding jobs for people who find it hard to get them, she has had to put in a lot of hard work herself.
After leaving school, she became a stylist, working in salons across the area - when one day she was dropped in at the deep end and asked to take over a hairdressing class.
“I had no idea what to do,” she said. “I was stood there in front of a class of pupils but somehow I muddled through it. I call that my ‘thunderbolt moment’ because it was then that I realised I wanted to help people.”
However, it would be a few more years before that dream became reality - and not before Hayley and her family had experienced life on the breadline.
“Back in the late nineties, I had had my own salon but I’d sold it on,” she said. “Then I found out I was pregnant with Morgan and then my husband was made redundant. It was a massive series of events in such a short space of time that turned everything around.
“For a long time, we were living hand to mouth, finding it hard to get by. We were really struggling to make ends meet.
“But it gave me a valuable insight into life and helps me now. When I am helping people who are struggling to find work, I know what they are going through.”
A voluntary stint in a Doncaster town centre charity shop led to her clinching a job with a welfare to work firm and when the cameras came to town to film fly-on-the-wall documentary Benefit Busters, Hayley’s future stardom was assured. “The rest, as they say, is history,” she said.
And although she rubbed shoulders with a string of stars in the States, she admits the best part of her job was helping the country’s unemployed back into work.
“Some of them were so down to earth and it was lovely to be able to help them. They were very excited to see me and made me feel really welcome. The only problem I encountered was having to slow down when I spoke so they could understand my broad Yorkshire accent!”
The show has also been sold across the globe and now she is focusing on her own employment consultancy in Nether Hall Road and also has plans to pen her own book. “All this is something I never thought I’d found myself doing. I’d never imagined it would lead to where it all has done,” she added. “But I believe everything happens for a reason and I was destined to do this. But I don’t think I will ever get used to it. I am just who I am.”
* For more details on Hayley and her employment consultancy, visit www.hayleytaylor.co.uk or email email@example.com
We asked Hayley for her advice on how to land that dream job - here’s her handy guide to help you out!
Hayley’s top ten job hunting tips:
1. Be realistic
“Know what you are capable of achieving. If you aren’t trained to be a brain surgeon, you won’t become a brain surgeon. Stay within your limits.”
2. Get a good CV “You need to put huge emphasis on your CV. It is the first presentation of yourself to a prospective employer. If your CV isn’t right, you won’t get an interview.”
3. Sell yourself “Sell yourself efficently and be prepared to apply and apply and apply for jobs.”
4. Market yourself “You have to market yourself too. Present a businesslike approach, dress smartly and look up to the job.”
5. Do voluntary work “While you are job hunting, get some work experience by doing voluntary work. It builds confidence, time management skills and helps team work.”
6. Don’t rely on the web“Don’t apply online all the time. Not all jobs are advertised on websites. Take a look in shop windows and ask around.”
7. Speculate to accumulate
“Send out spec letters and CVs to companies - you might just strike lucky at the right time.”
“Get yourself on a reputable social networking site like LinkedIn rather than Facebook. Get yourself out there - be seen and speak to people at networking events. Produce some business cards to pass on to people when you meet them. You can get them quite cheaply printed these days.”
9. Be prepared to travel
“Don’t immediately think because the job is some distance out of your way its out of reach. Be prepared to travel - and car share if necessary.”
10. WORK HARD
“Be prepared to put in the hours to find the jobs that are out there. They won’t just come to you on a plate.”